Arts and Entertainment Theda Bara in 1917’s silent movie ‘Cleopatra’

With more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain

Bogart and Hepburn `greatest film stars'

THE ARCHETYPE of the dapper Englishman was named yesterday as the second most important film star of all time by the venerable American Film Institute, in a list of stars that is causing controversy across the United States.

Who is Chris Marker?

Though it's very hard to see any of his works and almost impossible to discover anything about him (let alone find a photograph), he may be the most important film-maker in the world.

It started with a corpse

The great Billy Wilder is now nearly 93. His macabre fable about Hollywood lives on too. David Thomson looks back 50 years to the making of `Sunset Boulevard'

FILM STUDIES: Kurosawa, Mizoguchi ... and Nintendo Game Boy

I've set myself a task this coming Wednesday. It seemed modest at first, but now the more I think about it, the more alarmed I become. For I have volunteered to go into my son's fourth-grade class and "introduce" the nine-to-10-year olds to Japanese cinema. You see, this year they've been looking at things Japanese - they went to an art exhibition; they saw Madame Butterfly at the Opera - and I thought they ought to know that Japan is, or has been, a great force in film-making. How will I do that? I would show them one of the battle scenes from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.

Film: Blame Spielberg, not me

David Cronenberg's latest is typically extreme, although that's not what he'd have you believe.

Old Heidelberg live score

Celebrating the centenary of "Ravishing" Ramon Novarro, the sultry- eyed Latino idol of silent cinema, the London Philharmonic Orchestra whips up a presentation of Ernst Lubitsch's 1927 romantic classic, Old Heidelberg (above). Norma Shearer sparkles as the tankard-wielding inn-keeper's daughter, but the bitter constraints of royal duty prevent the German Crown Prince (Novarro) from following his heart. An astonishingly timeless dilemma, explored with cinematic subtlety by a lavish cast of silver- screen greats, in one of the most expensive films of its day. Carl Davis conducts the British premiere of his accompanying live score, against a freshly-restored print, in an all-enveloping swirl of lush German romantic strings and boisterous drinking songs.

Jazz: The older they come, the harder they play

CECIL TAYLOR/ MAX ROACH BARBICAN HALL LONDON

Obituaries: Nagaharu Yodogawa

NAGAHARU YODOGAWA was known to his vast Japanese public as a devoted servant of the cinema. From 1962 to the week of his death, he never missed a single appearance on the Televi Asahi Sunday Western Movie Theatre.

Roth takes novel revenge on ex-wife Claire Bloom

THE ADVICE "don't get mad; get even" has been taken up with relish by Philip Roth, the famed American author. His new novel, I Married A Communist, is seen as a thinly veiled riposte to an unflattering portrait of him painted by his ex-wife, the actress Claire Bloom, in her autobiography.

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century 8: Oliver Hardy, comedian

IT'S TRUE what they say. Look up Oliver Hardy in any film encyclopedia and you will find: "See Stan Laurel". And it's not just because people naturally think of "Laurel and Hardy" when they are thumbing though these books. By the time Stan received a special Academy Award in 1960 for his "creative pioneering in the field of cinema comedy", his reputation as the imaginative force behind Laurel and Hardy was pretty much as firmly set as those hand-prints on the sidewalk outside Graumenns' Chinese Theatre in LA.

Pop: Party animals and creature comforts

THE CREATURES

PUNCHLINES

Lee Evans

Arts: What a fine mess they got us in

Stan and Ollie have become victims of their own slapstick cliches. Now, 70 years after their first film, a new generation of funny men is acknowledging the original genius of Laurel and Hardy. By James Rampton

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: '98Ticket Offers

Take a copy of today's Independent to one of the venues below:

Music: It's a pretty slow experiment

HOW TO PUT a bore on stage without actually boring your audience is the Polonius Problem that dogs directors of Hamlet. And it's an issue, too, in Doctor Ox's Experiment, the new ENO commission from Gavin Bryars which features a whole castful of Polonii leading dull lives in a town in which time moves slowly, all decisions are postponed, and courtships last a decade. The "experiment" of the title (taken from a Jules Verne fantasy) is an attempt to liven things up with science and turn the townsfolk temporarily on heat. But life takes a long while coming, and the result is more an aesthetic experience than a dramatic one. The staging is attractive and the sounds are sometimes ravishing. But it amounts to something pleasurably uneventful, like a long soak in a warm bath.
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